CBD Oil and Pregnancy

Alexandra Campbell About CBD, FAQ

CBD oil and pregnancy

How safe is it to take CBD oil while pregnant?

This question is becoming a common one among expecting CBD-enthusiasts everywhere. Their interest in CBD is no surprise, considering the national attention CBD is receiving for its many healing properties. Before we examine the connections between CBD oil and pregnancy, let’s take a look at what CBD is in the first place.

What is CBD?

CBD, also known by its scientific nomenclature, cannabidiol, is one of at least 100 naturally occurring elements of the cannabis plant. CBD’s connection to wellness and its status as a potential holistic alternative to many traditional treatments is making the chemical compound a household name.

Cannabidiol is known as a promising phytocannabinoid which comes from agricultural or industrial hemp. Medical and scientific communities are recognizing it for its benefits regarding human and animal health. CBD holds the impressive potential of having the capacity to affect nearly every biological process in the human body.

CBD is among the many chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, which come from the cannabis sativa plant. The cannabinoid occurs naturally and is isolated through extraction with the help of a carrier oil, such as coconut or olive oil.

How is CBD oil taken?

CBD oil is most easily available as a tincture. Ingestion of this method involves applying 1-3 drops sublingually, holding it in your mouth for a few moments so it can be absorbed, and then swallowing. CBD can also be an addition to water or smoothies if the user is alright with the typically bland or earthy flavor of most oils.

Many companies offer a spray oil form as well. Aside from ingesting CBD via oil, there also exist many alternatives such as capsules, topical creams, and balms, e-liquid for vape pens and various edible options.

CBD oil and Pregnancy

Despite the many presumed benefits of CBD and its wide options of availability, it’s unclear whether or not CBD is safe for pregnant women. This determination isn’t due to any particularly harmful or proven consequences, but rather by a lack of substantial evidence on CBD’s effects on those expecting a child.

In the simplest terms, we don’t have enough empirical evidence to give a clear-cut answer as to whether or not CBD oil and pregnancy go together. While the chances are good that CBD is as safe for pregnant people as it is for non-pregnant people, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to pregnancy. Our current lack of information on the potential effects of CBD is especially relevant because anything a pregnant mother consumes has the potential to impact her developing child.

CBD oil and pregnancy

Why CBD?

If it’s true that we’re still unsure about the potential side-effects of CBD oil on pregnant women, why is it that so many expecting mothers are interested in taking CBD oil? While we can’t know for sure, their interest in CBD oil during pregnancy likely has much to do with all the alleged benefits of CBD.

More specifically, CBD has the potential to remedy an extensive and growing list of ailments and symptoms such as ADHD, acne, anxiety, cancer- and chemotherapy-related symptoms, depression, epilepsy, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and many more.

One of the most attractive facets of CBD which plays a significant role in its popularity among those looking for relief to their various symptoms and illnesses is that, although it is derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant, it is free of psychoactive properties. In lamen’s terms, CBD won’t get its users high (unlike its well-known cannabinoid cousin, THC).

CBD oil’s lack of psychoactive properties probably plays a significant role in the growing interest in it among the pregnant population. After all, having access to the therapeutic effects of cannabis without the fear of its causing a psychoactive effect is an understandably attractive perk for anybody, especially soon-to-be moms.

CBD is an all natural alternative to many of the traditional remedies for a long list of ailments. One of CBD oil’s main claims to fame is its natural ability to inspire homeostasis in its users. CBD creates homeostasis by interacting with the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is gaining attention from the medical community now more than ever.  

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that expecting mothers are finding interest in CBD’s natural tendency to encourage homeostasis in the body. Through the process of homeostasis, CBD is said to remedy many of the common symptoms of pregnancy such as anxiety, depression, inflammation, nausea, and pain. Hormones also play an essential role in the bodies and minds of pregnant women, another factor which CBD has the potential to affect positively.

General Safety of CBD

Overall, scientists are finding that CBD is generally safe–at least for healthy adults. While this is excellent news and is promising for others wanting to reap the many benefits of CBD, there still exists a significant gap in empirical evidence regarding the safety of CBD in pregnant women.

CBD oil is most likely safe for pregnant women. However, given the currently lacking body of research, it just isn’t worth the risk for expecting mothers to experiment with the cannabinoid. Until CBD is proven safe for pregnant women, it’s best to hold off on adding it to your pregnancy-related health arsenal.

What’s the Research So Far?

CBD oil and pregnancy

Whereas there exists a significant lack of research focusing on CBD oil and its potential effects on pregnancy, there are some studies on THC and pregnancy. In utero refers to the period before birth while the child is still in the woman’s uterus. This is a sensitive period for the mother and child alike.

Given the implications so far of exposure to THC in utero, which state that potentially hazardous effects can exist as a result of this exposure, it’s especially important to be cautious when it comes to experimenting with cannabinoids during pregnancy. Specifically, THC exposure in utero can affect the baby’s birth weight and even increase the possibility of the baby’s needing intensive care upon birth.

However, research on the effects of THC on pregnancy varies. For instance, another study which seemingly contradicts the research mentioned above states that cannabis is non-threatening to pregnant women.

Similar to CBD oil and pregnancy, more robust research is needed on THC and pregnancy before there is a clear picture as to how the cannabinoid might affect expecting mothers.

The few studies that do focus on CBD and its effects on pregnancy seem to have different findings. One set of researchers found that cannabinoids similar to CBD might have the capacity to decrease contractions, a seemingly beneficial quality.

A seemingly less beneficial finding from another 2013 preclinical study suggests that placental permeability in pregnant women who consume CBD might be influenced, meaning that foreign compounds could more likely cross the placental barrier into the fetus.

Really, the only thing we know right now is that we don’t know enough.

Final Thoughts

Given all of the promising benefits of CBD oil, it’s probable that the newly deemed “miracle” cannabinoid can offer positive effects for pregnant women as well. Since CBD is known for being useful in some pregnancy-related symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and pain, the outlook is hopeful that it can be added to the healing arsenal for expecting moms.

However, there is a lack of empirical evidence concerning CBD and pregnancy. The few studies that do focus on the effects of cannabinoids on pregnant women mostly concern THC and are sorely lacking in information.

The even fewer studies that specifically mention CBD for pregnancy carry an insufficient amount of research as to whether or not it will have negative, positive, or no effects on pregnant women. At this point, it’s best to consult with your doctor before even considering taking CBD oil or any other variation of CBD while expecting a child.

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Last modified: April 23, 2019